Tuesday 17. May, 2016

Support Groups Want More Community Contributions from Federal Group

Support groups in Tasmania are using the government’s review into gambling in the state as a forum to call on the owner of the state’s two casinos, the Federal Group, to contribute more to the Community Support Levy.

The levy was set up towards the end of the 1990s when poker machines were first introduced into pubs and clubs. It aims to help problem gamblers who are addicted to poker machines. In addition, money goes to gambling research, education and rehabilitation for gambling addicts, as well as grants to provide alternative activities to gambling. Hoteliers are required to contribute a percentage of their profits from gambling machines; however casinos were exempt from making contributions.

Margie Law, a researcher from Anglicare Tasmania said that despite the fact that Tasmania’s casinos bring in almost half of the $194 million in profits from poker machines in the state, they are still not required to contribute to the levy.

However, the Federal Group countered that they contribute directly through their hotels.

“Federal Group directly contributes to the Community Support Levy as per the current arrangements for contributions from gaming in hotels and clubs,” stated a spokesman for the Federal Group.

“Since the commencement of the current gaming license (2003), Federal Group has also contributed well over $20 million to a range of causes, events and organizations in the Tasmanian community.”

“The Community Support Levy has provided valuable funding to gamblers help services, gambling research, charitable grants and sport and recreation grants for the last 20 years.”

“The current level of funding ensures that Tasmanians that require access to counselling services can do so.”

Anglicare has joined other community groups to form a coalition to lobby for changes in the levy and for poker machines to be banned from pubs and clubs in the state.

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